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Bureau of Labor Statistics | Statistics | Workplace exposures

BLS data shows insects pose deadly risk for some workers

August 15, 2014

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Washington – At least 83 workers in the United States died between 2003 and 2010 because of incidents involving insects, arachnids and mites, according to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of the deaths were related to allergic reactions to bee stings, although other fatal injuries involved wasps, venomous spiders and fire ants.

BLS examined data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. At least six worker fatalities involving insects occurred during each year of the study, and nonfatal injuries accounted for 4,930 days away from work in 2010 alone.

Farming occupations were the most susceptible to insect-related fatalities, followed by construction, landscaping, trucking and pest control. Almost one-fourth of the fatalities occurred in Texas.

NIOSH offers dozens of recommendations on how to help protect workers from insect bites and stings, including having workers wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible; wear light-colored, smooth clothing material; and avoid wearing perfumed soaps, shampoos and deodorants.